A disappointing 2015 campaign for the Newtown Jets comes to an end on Saturday when they host the North Sydney Bears in the final match of the regular season.
Out of finals contention, the Jets have just pride to play for in a match that will be contested for the Frank Hyde Shield, a game held in memory of the late radio commentator who called many a game between the two traditional rivals back in their glory days.
A gentleman of his era, Frank Hyde also represented both clubs during his playing days.
The Newtown team will again feature a number of Sharks-contracted players, manly of whom will be hoping to maintain match fitness should an opportunity open up in the NRL during the upcoming finals series.
The game kicks off at Henson Park at 3.00pm, with the afternoon also featuring the Newtown Old Boys reunion, with a collection of former club greats in attendance for the annual celebration.
NSWRL media has produced the following match preview, which appeared on their website earlier today.
Battle for the Frank Hyde Shield
The Frank Hyde Shield is up for grabs this weekend when the Newtown Jets host the North Sydney Bears at Henson Park.
The Jets are in the box seat to retain the shield, as they demolished the Bears by 22 points in the first leg back in round six.
Bears coach Ben Gardiner was not in charge at the time, and with a finals spot in the bag, he believes this match will be a chance to build confidence and strengthen combinations.
“It’s an important match for confidence, it’s a really good opportunity for us to get out there and play together,” says Gardiner.
“It’s hard at this level of footy to create combinations, so we’re hoping to get our side back on the field so we can work on combinations, particularly around our halves, hooker and fullback.
“We haven’t had much consistency with that over the last five or six weeks.”
The Jets have drastically underachieved this season, and will be hoping to go out on a high in front of their loyal crowd at Henson Park.
Despite sitting in 10th spot, the Jets are certainly no easy-beats, and Gardiner just wants his side to play as a team on the eve of the finals.
“The focus is going to be making sure we play good footy, and that we play as a team,” Gardiner says.
“Every week brings different teams together, and the team we put on the paddock haven’t played together before. So there’s an opportunity for us to put a real big focus on our team and our togetherness and working hard for each other.”
The red-hot form of the Bears last week was only stopped in a two-point thriller last week against Wyong, and Gardiner said that game certainly built the character of his players heading into this week.
“We took a lot out of that game, we were able to take a step back and learn a few things,” explains Gardiner.
“It was good for our younger players to come up against some really experienced players, and trying to get on top of themselves for next time.”
Who will take out the Frank Hyde Shield? Get down to Henson Park this Saturday at 3pm to find out.